Haarlem Gallery Launch

Over recent months the MK team has been supporting Haarlem Artspace with the launch of a new gallery, which is situated in the picturesque town of Wirksworth.

In November, we were delighted to attend the grand opening, and privileged to have experienced the new venue’s first exhibition, ‘Gathering’, which featured award-winning rural artists exploring the communal act of intimacy, from prehistoric sites to folk rituals & rave music.

Here, MK Account Executive Isabella Storey gives a little bit of insight into what was a really fantastic event.


The journey to Wirksworth from Sheffield takes you through winding country roads, and the beautiful former spa town of Matlock before finally into the rural, yet industrial, market town of Wirksworth.

Haarlem Gallery itself is located within a beautifully transformed 18th Century town assembly room inside the Red Lion Hotel, and the gallery is an extension of their existing Haarlem Artspace which resides within the transformed Haarlem Mill.

Aside from the wonderful venue, it was worth noting how great it felt for openings like this to be taking place again, especially with measures in place to prevent overcrowding within the gallery.

Attending the event were ‘Gathering’s’ curators Verity Birt and Jonathan Michael Ray, both eager to share insight about the exhibition and its contents.

The art pieces themselves ranged from multimedia canvases, to sculptures, videos and music – all of which had their own unique connection to rurality and community. Artists featured includes Simon Bayliss, Verity Birt, Ilker Cinarel, Georgia Gendall, Steven Claydon, Jonathan Michael Ray, Dan Howard-Birt, Abigail Reynolds, Lucy Stein, and Tom Sewell.

Taking a walk around the pieces, it was great to read of the inspiration and materials that came together to create the pieces, it became clear why each piece had earnt its rightful place amongst the others.

Quickly, the venue filled, with Haarlem Co-directors Oliva Punnett, Bev Shephard and Catherine Rogers also mixing with the attendees.

The launch of Haarlem Gallery took place after a culmination of actions from MK, with the whole team jumping at the opportunity to get involved – securing BBC Radio Derby and Sheffield interviews, local press coverage, and generating lots of social interaction along the way.

Towards the end of the launch event, with empty glasses and a room still full of attendees ready to continue to the pub below. Sadly, we had to dash ahead of Storm Arwin.

We hope to see Haarlem Gallery’s success stretch far into the future and can’t wait to see some of the future exhibits they have planned.